MEDIA RELEASE: Ratepayers Will Pay for Wellington Airport’s Folly

http://www.scoop.co.nz/stories/AK1711/S00488/ratepayers-will-pay-for-wellington-airports-folly.htm Sunday, 19 November 2017, 2:27 pm Press Release: Guardians of the Bays Wellington Ratepayers Will Pay for Wellington International Airport’s Folly 19 November 2017 – Wellington International Airport is continuing its cynical campaign to shoehorn Wellington ratepayers into paying for a runway extension, despite having no airline, no business case and no eye to safety concerns raised by pilots, according to concerned ratepayers, community leaders and recreational groups. Guardians of the Bays, which represents more than 600 recreational, community and ratepayer members, says Wellington Airport’s announcement that it has signed a Memorandum of Understanding with a Chinese company to construct the new extension shows it has little respect for the community or the ratepayers. Guardians of the Bays’ Co-Chair Richard Randerson says WIAL is trying to reinvigorate its extension plans on the back of the Government’s $1 billion regional development fund. “The questions that residents and ratepayers had prior to the General Election have still not been addressed. There is already evidence that the proposal is likely to cost much more than the $350m originally suggested, up to $500m according to one expert. “The Environment Court process is not completed, there are still questions about the safety of the Read More …

OPINION: Wellington Airport extension shouldn’t be allowed off the ground

By Dave Armstrong: https://www.stuff.co.nz/national/politics/98996698/Airport-extension-shouldn-t-be-allowed-off-the-ground?utm_source=dlvr.it&utm_medium=Twitter KEVIN STENT/STUFF There’s no money to build the runway extension at Wellington. OPINION: Last Sunday in Beijing, Wellington Airport signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) with a Chinese construction company and the China Express airline. Hallelujah! Wellington has the world’s biggest construction company to help extend its runway so millions of tourists can flood into Wellington. The parties will apparently work together on the extension, develop the airport area and market Wellington as a destination. Yet as Scoop website reminded us last week, our council signed a similar MOU with a different Chinese construction company in 2015. And remember the MOU that Celia Wade-Brown signed in China to build that lovely Chinese Garden that currently sits in Frank Kitts Park? Oops – what a civic embarrassment that has been. I’m sure there must be an old Chinese proverb about Wellington mayors who rashly sign MOUs ending up with gravel rash at election time. READ MORE * Wellington Airport lines up Chinese construction giant for runway extension * Airports group joins Supreme Court hearing to warn of risks from pilots’ safety challenge * Wellington Airport claims not all planes need to be able to land on longer runway But there’s just Read More …

MEDIA RELEASE: Community Groups welcome Wellington Airport Delay at Environment Court

March 21, 2017 Residents and ratepayers group the Guardians of the Bays has welcomed the news that Wellington Airport will postpone the progression of its runway extension resource consent in the Environment Court. In advance of a pre-hearing conference on Thursday, the Airport has announced that it will withdraw its resource consent application while it appeals to the Supreme Court on the Court of Appeal ruling that the Civil Aviation Authority must reconsider its decision on the length of the proposed runway safety area. Guardians of the Bays’ Co-Chair Richard Randerson said the decision showed that Wellington Airport’s application was deficient in not considering possible contingencies such as the Court of Appeal decision. Wellington Airport has said in its own memo to the court that it will potentially need to rescope the application or withdraw it completely, if its appeal to the Supreme Court is unsuccessful. The Pilots Association case on the safety of the extension was before the courts well before Wellington Airport lodged its application to the Environment Court. Yet it still went ahead and used nearly $3 million of ratepayer funding to scope a proposal which now looks like it will be redundant. First and foremost, any Read More …

RE-BLOG CROAKING CASSANDRA: Wellington airport and the runway extension

By Michael Reddell, October 17, 2016. Link here. Fairfax’s Hamish Rutherford had a substantial piece in Saturday’s Dominion-Post on the proposed Wellington airport runway extension, under the heading If we build it, will they come? (a rather similar title to my own first post on the airport last year).  It seemed like a fairly balanced article, covering many (but not all) of the key uncertainties about the project.   Most of them wouldn’t be a matter for public concern if this was to be a privately-funded project, but it isn’t –  and everyone agrees on that. There was an interesting quote to that effect at the start of the article from airport company chair Tim Brown. As Tim Brown tells it, the first time he discussed a “back of the envelope”-type analysis of the cost to extend Wellington runway with the airport’s chief executive, Steve Sanderson, the conversation was “completely negative”. …..Brown had just been presented an outline of a $300 million project, aiming to enable non-stop long-haul flights to the capital. However, the  potential gains to the airport (two-thirds owned by Infratil, the rest by Wellington City Council) were likely to see a boost in profits that would only justify it investing around Read More …

MEDIA RELEASE: No plan B leaves Wellington ratepayers exposed over airport extension proposal.

“Wellington City Council has no Plan B to protect Wellington’s ratepayers if the Wellington Airport Extension doesn’t deliver,” according to business, recreational, community and environmental groups who are calling for more rigour around the proposal. The Guardians of the Bays, a citizen-led umbrella organisation representing a growing number of groups of businesses and individuals who are concerned the runway extension will not deliver the benefits being promised by Wellington International Airport Limited and some City Councillors. Co-chairs Dr Sea Rotmann and Richard Randerson said the airport is being presented to the public as Wellington’s main economic growth option. “We are all keen on a progressive and successful Wellington. But the numbers being put up for this proposal simply don’t stack up. “The Council has promised $90 million of ratepayer money, on top of $3 million already handed over to the airport, for a runway extension that has no business case. The Airport has refused to put its numbers under the scrutiny of the Government’s own Better Business Case process, which is required for getting Central Government funding.” “Economically, the runway extension has the potential to lump Wellington ratepayers with a wasteful and unnecessary White Elephant requiring significant ratepayer subsidies and Read More …

WHY OH WHY ARE SO MANY MAYORAL CANDIDATES FOR THE RUNWAY EXTENSION?

We now have 5 candidates contesting the Mayoral election this year, and four of them are gung-ho supporters of the corporate hand-out to fossil fuel giant, Infratil. Why oh why does Infratil, which owns airports, energy companies, transport groups, property and hundreds of petrol stations with more than $2.5 billion in assets, still need handouts from the Wellington City Council? Why oh why are Justin Lester and Co promoting discredited numbers around this extension ad nauseum, yet refuse to insist on a proper business case by the airport? Why oh why did the Council hide the subsidies to attract Singapore Airlines to fly to Wellington (via Canberra), with Justin Lester trying to blame his leak on Helene Ritchie? Why oh why are they pushing for Wellington ratepayers to pay half of the cost of the runway extension, even though they will – at utmost, and only with unreal fantasy projections – only get a third of the economic gains? Why or why are they paying for half when they only own a third of the shares yet get just over 10% of the dividends? Why oh why are they calling critics of the airport extension to be “Anti-Wellington” and “Anti-Competition”? Read More …

RE-BLOG KEITH JOHNSON: TIME FOR ‘A CUP OF TEA’ ON BIG IDEAS?

Local economist, policy adviser and writer Keith Johnson says he will push for greater accountability, lower rate and debt rises, and higher levels of scrutiny for project planning and implementation. The contest for Wellington’s mayoralty is heating up, with profesional public policy analyst and citizen journalist Keith Johnson declaring that he will enter the race as an independent. Johnson joins incumbent mayor Celia Wade-Brown, deputy mayor Justin Lester and councillors Nicola Young and Jo Coughlan in declaring their candidacies in the October election. Reining in the Council’s sometimes massive, and apparently somewhat casual and arbitrary spending plans will be his top priority. Like Jo Coughlan, Johnson is highly critical of the Council’s approach to transport planning, arguing that it is driven by emotion rather than objectivity. He agrees with Jo that failure to solve the Basin Reserve’s peak hour congestion has resulted in “lost years” of progress, resulting from the canning of a proposed highway flyover and a failure to promote a practical alternative. Unlike all the other candidates who are standing, Keith is also highly critical of plans for the Council to contribute $90 million to the proposed Wellington Airport Runway Extension Project. He sees this as yet another Read More …